What’s the difference? We all know we should be wearing sunscreen daily and the benefits that will have on our skin in the future however, brands have multiple different options and choices including chemical and physical sunscreens but what are the difference, and which one should we be using?
What is a physical sunscreen? It uses natural agents like zinc and titanium oxide. Physical sunscreens and reflectors of the sun. It will provide a protective layer/ barrier over the skin and reflect UV rays.
Physical sunscreen will be effective as soon as it is applied to the skin and can last longer between applications however, if you are wet or sweaty it can rub off quicker and will not be effective therefore, it will need to be re-applied more frequently.
Physical sunscreens are thicker and whiter on the skin which isn’t ideal for those who wish to wear it under makeup as it may cause the white flash back that we dread and can make deeper skin tones look a bit washed out. On the other hand, it is less likely to cause irrigation, stinging and less likely to clog pores which makes it great for sensitive, combination and oily skin types.
If heat irritates your skin, then physical sunscreen is a great option as it deflects the heat away from your skin. Physical sunscreens can be harder to locate.
What is a Chemical sunscreen? They simply contain chemicals such Octylcrylen, Avobenzone and Octinoxate. Chemical sunscreens create a chemical reaction and change any UV rays that enter the skin into heat which will then be released from the skin.
Chemical sunscreens are easier to find, cheaper and probably what you have always used.
As they are chemicals they can be more irritating on the skin and clog pores which is not great for sensitive skins and oily skins however, they are better in water and sweat! Chemical sunscreens are also thinner which allows them to spread easier, cover more of the skin quicker and require less effort rubbing them in and better for daily use and probably better in terms of ££!
You will need to wait at least 20 minutes after applying a chemical sunscreen before going in the sun.
Both are effective when applied correctly and safely and both will protect you from UV rays. It is hard to say which one is best for you therefore, it is worth trying both and seeing what will suit your skin type.